The majority of my columns are primarily upbeat, occasionally comical and
predominantly family oriented because I tend to discuss the sometimes curious
ways my life has evolved over the years, and the occasional ironic happenings,
but since mid-January, my entire existence has been turned upside down by the
untimely death of my beloved husband Otto Brown.
With the passage of time I am told that the grief will lessen and we will be
able to celebrate his life more than mourn his passing but those moments have
been slow to arrive so I continue to inhabit a suspended type of existence.
Friends continue to remember us in prayer, and the best advice I received is
that grief has no length and the greater the love for the person who has passed,
the longer it takes for the tears to be replaced with pleasant memories.
I began dating Otto at sixteen; and in
two years, we were married, I realize we were considered youngsters but the
Vietnam War was raging and because he was unexpectedly drafted, and with the
blessings of our parents, we married in a quiet family ceremony, and then for
months we dreaded every published deployment schedule. After boot camp and
several special assignments, Otto completed his required service as a clerk
specialist at Kelly Hill and fighting on foreign soil never became a reality.
We enjoyed life in Richland but a near-death experience at age forty; forever
changed Otto physically and significantly altered the path of our lives. After
months of excruciating rehabilitation and countless hours of prayer, we realized
that our lives were taking a new direction. Our discovery caused a heart
wrenching decision to relocate our family.
Our lives in Baldwin County were quite different; within a few years we found
our way to the Lord or in Otto's case, became born-again. It was peculiar
living among strangers, but as time passed, we made friends, at church, work and
school, and soon we began recognizing faces in the crowds.
Our family discovered new ways of making a living; Otto had secured his
electrical license, and then later a contractor's license; he took any work
available during the early days but within a few years he was working in many of
the historical buildings in Baldwin County. He rewired historic Vinson Hall,
both the Flannery O'Connor homes; the Drummer's House in Sparta, and the old
Classic Motors after a devastating fire and was instrumental in moving our
church, Black Springs Baptist across the highway.
When an aortic aneurism caused him to retire, he accepted it with grace and
proudly watched the grands grow up and enjoyed working in the yard and sitting
on the porch. Otto overcame obstacles that might stop others, and remarkably as
an adult, learned to walk again, three different times.
We miss our PaPa tremendously but Otto knew Jesus as his Savior so I know he
resides in Heaven and his incredible spirit dwells in the hearts of all who
Brenda S. Brown